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    Breach of Trustees’ Fiduciary Duty – Part 4: Duty to Delegate

    At common law, trustees had a fiduciary duty not to delegate tasks they can perform themselves.  However, our current financial system’s increasing complexity makes it unreasonable for many trustees to manage trust assets on their own.  The opportunities for investments are endless, and the sophistication of even basic financial instruments has increased since the creation of the common law duty not to delegate tasks.  As a result, it is often in the best interests of all parties – including the trustee – to enlist the help of experienced professionals who can assist with investment decisions.  Doing so ensures the trust’s assets are financially productive and protected.   When delegating his…

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    Breach of Trustees’ Fiduciary Duty – Part 3: Duty to Administer Trusts Prudently and Duty to Inform, Report, and Maintain Adequate Records

              In Part 2 of this series, we examined trustees’ duties of loyalty and impartiality.  This post will examine the duty to administer trusts prudently and Part 4 will discuss the duty to delegate – or not delegate – in more depth.  The duty to administer trusts involves the basic values of good faith, while the duty to inform, report, and maintain adequate records involves the reasonableness of a trustee’s actions.  While these principals seem straight forward, they are a bit nuanced in practice.     Duty to Administer Trusts Prudently             The duty to administer trusts prudently mandates trustees carry…

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    North Carolina Business Court Recognizes New Duty to Negotiate in Good Faith

    While North Carolina has never recognized a fiduciary relationship between lenders and borrowers, in June the North Carolina Business Court did recognized a new cause of action: breach of a duty to negotiate in good faith.[1]    The Court confined its decision to the particular facts present in the case, leaving many questions unanswered regarding this type of claim.   BB&T gave two loans totaling $5.275 million to an experienced real-estate developer.  BB&T and the client had a long (30 year) borrower-lender relationship, which the Court characterized as “multifaceted and unique.”[2]  The loans needed restructuring, so BB&T and the borrower spent over eight (8) months extensively negotiating their terms.  The negotiations…